Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Capable of perceiving with a sense or senses.
  • adj. Responsive to external conditions or stimulation.
  • adj. Susceptible to the attitudes, feelings, or circumstances of others.
  • adj. Quick to take offense; touchy.
  • adj. Easily irritated: sensitive skin.
  • adj. Readily altered by the action of an agent: film that is sensitive to light.
  • adj. Registering very slight differences or changes of condition. Used of an instrument.
  • adj. Fluctuating or tending to fluctuate, as in price: sensitive stocks.
  • adj. Of or relating to classified information: sensitive defense data; holds a sensitive position in the State Department.
  • n. A sensitive person.
  • n. One held to be endowed with psychic or occult powers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having the faculty of sensation; pertaining to the senses.
  • adj. Responsive to stimuli.
  • adj. Of a person, easily offended, upset or hurt.
  • adj. Of an issue, capable of offending, upsetting or hurting.
  • adj. Accurate (instrument)
  • n. One with a paranormal sensitivity to something that most cannot perceive.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having sense of feeling; possessing or exhibiting the capacity of receiving impressions from external objects.
  • adj. Having quick and acute sensibility, either to the action of external objects, or to impressions upon the mind and feelings; highly susceptible; easily and acutely affected.
  • adj.
  • adj. Having a capacity of being easily affected or moved.
  • adj. Readily affected or changed by certain appropriate agents.
  • adj. Serving to affect the sense; sensible.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to sensation; depending on sensation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of, pertaining to, or affecting the senses; depending on the senses.
  • Having sense, sensibility, or feeling; capable of receiving impressions from external objects: often extended, figuratively, to various inanimate objects.
  • Of keen sensibility; keenly susceptible of external influences or impressions; easily and acutely affected or moved by outward circumstances or impressions: as, a sensitive person, or a person of sensitive nature: figuratively extended to inanimate objects.
  • Specifically
  • In entomology, noting parts of the surface of the antennæ: which are peculiarly modified and, it is supposed, subservient to some special sense. These surfaces exhibit an immense number of microscopical pores, covered with a very delicate transparent membrane; they may be generally diffused over the joints or variously arranged in patches, the position of which has been used in the classification of certain families of Coleoptera.
  • Susceptible in a notable degree to hypnotism; easily hypnotized or mesmerized.
  • Noting a condition of feverish liability to fluctuation: said of markets, securities, or commodities.
  • So delicately adjusted as to respond quickly to very slight changes of condition: said of instruments, as a balance.
  • In chem. and photography, readily affected by the action of appropriate agents: as, iodized paper is sensitive to the action of light.
  • Sensible; wise; judicious.
  • Synonyms and Sentient, etc. See sensible.
  • n. Something that feels; a sensorium.
  • n. A sensitive person; specifically, one who is sensitive to mesmeric or hypnotic influences or experiments. See I., 3 .
  • n. the common sense in the Aristotelian use.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who serves as an intermediary between the living and the dead
  • adj. able to feel or perceive
  • adj. being susceptible to the attitudes, feelings, or circumstances of others
  • adj. responsive to physical stimuli
  • adj. of or pertaining to classified information or matters affecting national security
  • adj. hurting

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French sensitif, from Medieval Latin sēnsitīvus, from Latin sēnsus, sense; see sense.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French sensitif, from Medieval Latin sensitivus. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But, nonetheless, I'm sure that there are many stupid people who believe that the word sensitive translates into sissy.

    Hullabaloo

  • Off the site that night, and through the next day, we did what they call sensitive site exploitation, and we did pick up quite a bit of stuff out of the house, the safe house there.

    CNN Transcript Jun 14, 2006

  • We've also organized some units to do this and embedded in other units, for example within some of our Special Operations units and some of our forward-operating units, the ability to do what we call sensitive site exploitation, the ability to go into a place, to examine it in detail with the right knowledge, with the right equipment, related to weapons of mass destruction.

    CNN Transcript Apr 15, 2003

  • They are basically going through what they call sensitive site exploitation.

    CNN Transcript Mar 17, 2002

  • We have them at what we call sensitive locations, the places that you might think somebody might want to do something with, and then we also have them at the entrances and exits to the city, so that we can have checkpoints, and at the airport.

    CNN Transcript Oct 7, 2001

  • Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan on Friday as planned to discuss what he described as sensitive matters.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Strictly speaking, the glands ought to be called irritable, as the term sensitive generally implies consciousness; but no one supposes that the Sensitive-plant is conscious, and as I have found the term convenient, I shall use it without scruple.

    Insectivorous Plants

  • I probably wouldn't use the word sensitive, but it's certainly something you have to watch the most in terms of where it goes over time.

  • An external probe commissioned by the SNB Bank Council in December cleared what it called a "sensitive" transaction.

    BusinessWeek.com -- Top News

  • Ferguson was explaining his government's policy on what he described as a sensitive issue to a group of Pakistani journalists on Wednesday.

    Domain-b Brand Dossier

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